MONROE — Mike McCormick’s throw-ins have served Newton’s soccer team well at various points throughout this season.
Such an occurrence helped setup the first of two early goals for the Cardinals Tuesday night and led to a 3-0 win over host Prairie City-Monroe in a Class 2A Substate 7 match.
Freshman Josh Ventling headed in a strong throw by McCormick from the right sideline in the seventh minute. It was the first of three Newton goals in a roughly 14 minute span that Prairie City-Monroe never recovered from.
“Mikey has a cannon,” Newton senior captain Chandler Sturtz said. “That’s a big weapon for us. A lot of teams don’t expect it right away.”
The Mustangs may have been an ideal opponent for the Cardinals to make the most of their throw-ins. PCM head coach Darrin Telfer said after the game his team has “had trouble marking men up the whole season on throw ins...” That issue appeared again less than two minutes after Newton’s first goal when Brock Southern headed the ball into the net off another throw-in the ninth minute.
“That’s been a weapon, a secret for us,” said Newton head coach Sackda Viravong, who also praised McCormick for his strong throws. “It’s important to get early goals so you can settle down a bit.”
The Cardinals’ early goals kept the Mustangs in a defensive mode for most of the match. Ventling capped the scoring in the 21st minute following a corner kick by sending one past PCM’s goalie again.
While Ventling’s second goal of the night finished the scoring, Newton kept pressure on PCM for most of the game thanks in part to a definite speed advantage that allowed the Cardinals to send the ball down the field to their players on the edge.
“[Our speed] was a large part of it,” Sturtz said. “When you have outside [midfielders] that can make those corner runs and beat their guy, it makes it really easy as a center [midfielder] to find them and it just opens the whole field up. That was really important for us.”
Scoring opportunities weren’t as frequent for PCM until late in the match. The Mustangs finally found the net in the 74th minutes but lost the goal due to an offsides call.
“We were preaching at halftime, ‘be more aggressive, be more aggressive,’” said Telfer, whose club finished the season 2-11. “They just picked the wrong time to aggressive, but we’ll take that.”
The Cardinals now advance to a substate semifinal match Thursday night at 6 p.m. against host Perry. The Bluejays (12-3) possess a stingy defense that has only allowed nine goals to opponents all season, the second fewest in class 2A.
Newton and Perry shared one common opponent during the regular season: Pella. Newton lost to Pella, 2-1, on May 20 and Perry beat Pella, 1-0, on April 28.
Viravong referenced the results of those two games after his team’s victory Tuesday night.
“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “As you can see, [Perry is] going to be a tough game for us.”